I mentioned in this week’s newsletter some pretty big news from my corner of the internet - we are preggo with baby number 2! Aria Rose is going to be a big sister, and she is more excited about it than anyone else, it seems. “Baby Squishy,” as we’ve lovingly (and perhaps, weirdly) named him/her is 14 weeks young and due to arrive July 29th, or mercifully sooner if he is a good little mama’s boy. ;) I’ve been taking some non-negotiable down time from SHH—and life in general—for the past couple months. I say non-negotiable, because despite how badly I’m missing Boss Lady Gervase and wanting to dive headfirst into all the new things we’re rolling out in 2016 (and there are A LOT), my BODY (stupid body . . .) has been like “sit the F down, girl fraaand and CHILL.” We’re working on getting along - me and this bod, but to be honest, it’s been tough.
Some days during my first trimester, I’d shakily and determinedly rise from bed and wobble over to my computer to #dowork and end up closing it 20 minutes later. Then I’d curl up in a ball in my corner of the couch to sleep off my nausea until Aria came home from school. The guilt was debilitating. Spending my precious toddler-free work hours NAPPING day after day? Laying there lethargically while toddler watched Mary Poppins for 2 hours in the afternoons? Turns out I’m a horrible mother—OBVIOUSLY.
And then one particularly rough day, while nibbling saltines and slurping ginger ale and willing my body to allow me to rise to my passion and purpose of helping mothers de-stigmatize the human moments of motherhood, the irony and the OPPORTUNITY flashed before my eyes.
I’m a bit overdue for some of those shitty human moments I’m always talking about, aren’t I? The ones that buckle your knees and blur your eyes and throw you completely out of your typical functioning mommy orbit. What better life experience to go through with my new Mommy Soul Tribe than my second pregnancy?
If you think I’m being a bit melodramatic (you’re totes entitled to your opinion) or if you never read up on pregnancy #1, when I was crumpled in a ball of defeat on the bathroom floor wondering if there would ever again be a time when I’d feel like my old self again, now’s the time to grab some context.
My loss of identity and frustration with my newfound physical limits was greater during pregnancy than as a new mother the first time around. Pregnancy IS my Mt. Rushmore, and I’m freaking determined to climb to the top with a more positive mindset and experience this second time. For myself and for the sanity of my dear, sweet husband. (Love you, babe!)
Without the valleys, there are no peaks. Without pushing through the uncomfortable, there is no reward in the comfortable. Not only is my second pregnancy an opportunity for me to rewrite my pregnancy story, but it’s also a beautiful chance for me to peel back yet another layer of motherhood to share with my tribe with the goal of enriching the meaning and the message of everything I do.
And nothing, literally NOTHING, gets me fired up like keeping it real with my tribe to start that ripple effect of helping us all be gentler to ourselves TOGETHER, kinder to ourselves TOGETHER, stronger in the face of culturally “easy” things (like pregnancy, motherhood and life in general) TOGETHER. If I can forgive myself (and my body) for the next 6 very human months of my life, then maybe you will, too. And we’ll all be free of the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect and put-together and do everything with a smile on our faces.
So before this gets way too long, here’s what I need to tell the Internet, firmly and without apology:
- Pregnancy is effing hard, and I AM INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL: Women I love very much are going through hell and back just to GET pregnant as I type this. I deeply empathize with their Mt. Rushmore and send them my love and still say, “I’m having a hard time forgiving my body’s limits right now. This shit sucks sometimes, AND I am overjoyed that I get the gift of another human in my little family.” There is a misconception that you cannot feel two opposing things simultaneously - ESPECIALLY where motherhood is concerned. Ex: “My kid is an ass, and I’m obsessed with them.” Well guess what? This isn’t Mary Poppins - this is the real world, and I assure you it’s 100% possible to have those feelings and still be a great mom just as worthy of the gift of children as anyone else.
- Self-care is more than going to one yoga class a week. It is checking in with yourself and not assuming you can push yourself every day without consequences. Burn-out is a real thing, loves. I know firsthand, which is why I’m sharing my experience and the secrets I’ve accumulated about practical self-care mixed with necessary sanity in next week’s free webinar. Self-care is listening to your body, feeding your heart and soul and forgiving yourself at the end of each day for things that went less than perfect. It’s knowing when to push and when to curl up in a ball and just feel your feelings without judgment. It’s pausing to see if you can even hear what your heart, soul and body are screaming at you in the first place. I began my self-care pushback during my first pregnancy and refused to listen and refused to slow down. I refused to see myself as anything other than weak and pathetic for allowing the tiny act of GROWING A HUMAN to change my daily physical and mental capabilities. That is totally ridiculous. This time, it will be (and already is) different.
- I’m saying NO to basically everything this pregnancy. Last time I was all, “Pregnancy ain’t gonna slow me down! Yes, I’ll go clubbing with you! Yes, I’ll take that hip-hop class. Yes, I’ll drop everything if you need me! Yes, I’ll still volunteer for that panel and yes, I’ll show up in the freezing cold to collect tickets for your cause!” Now, I’m defaulting to NO, and I have zero apologies about that. It is liberating, empowering and energizing. JOIN ME, PEOPLE.
- My gentle reminder for the tougher days has been, “It’s a bad day, not a bad life.” When I’m down, like really down, I start to think super negatively (it’s a bit dramatic, once again), and those negative thoughts have the momentum to spiral out of control, but hey! that’s what hormones do to you! F YOU, HORMONES! It’s just a bad day, and I’ll try again tomorrow.
In summary, getting pregnant is exactly what I wanted and envisioned for my family. We are ecstatic and every morning when Aria kisses my belly and says with her giant smile, “I love baby squishy,” I am acutely aware of just how much of a blessing this baby has already been in our lives. AND women sacrifice their physical bodies and capabilities, their careers (sometimes), their mental stability, their alcohol (read: sanity) and so much more to bring babies into this world. All I”m saying is, it’s hard AND I’m grateful, and if have ever found yourself in this position, I’m writing this for you, so you realize you’re not the only one, you’re not a bad mom and this is part of what makes us HUMAN.
Seeking out the pearls of wisdom and the growth opportunities inside all of life’s supposed “challenges” - well, that’s just what makes us superhuman and even better mamas, and I’m pretty sure that’s why you’re all here. Because you’re a unicorn.